Today, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will join Senators owner Eugene Melnyk for what the team is calling a "major announcement." This is widely expected to be that the city will be hosting the All-Star game for the 2011-12 season, a fairly poorly kept secret at this point.
The 2012 All-Star game will coincide with the expansion Senators' 20th year in the league. It could also represent Daniel Alfredsson's last year in the league, though that is purely my own speculation.
In 1992, when the team officially began play, I was 13. As a kid just starting to truly follow hockey, I wanted to start my fandom fresh. Among my friends, the cool team to like was Ottawa's expansion brother, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Never one to be a bandwagon fan, I chose to support the other team instead. For my faith, I was rewarded with a ten-win season.
I have never regretted my choice.
Since then, the team has been through more drama than I care to recap, and which most fans are probably familiar with anyway. In spite of all of the trials and tribulations, it has always been easy to be a fan of the franchise and the city itself -- I consider it my favorite one, though I never get to visit as often as I would like.
The All-Star Game represents the success of a small market team in the shadows of our loud, bitter, blue brothers to the west and our self-glorifying neighbors to the east. More importantly, it represents the success of the team's fans, who have relentlessly supported it through the aforementioned troubles. The city and its residents have already proven to be good hosts to hockey events. When the festivities come to Ottawa in 2012, one thing is certain: The city will not disappoint. It never does.